It stands to reason that the divorce process can be a confusing and stressful time, and at times, the amount of documents involved can be overwhelming. There is much you can do to tame the pile of paperwork, and knowing what to expect can help you better deal with the onslaught. Not only can having a good idea of the pertinent documentation give you some peace of mind, but it will also help your divorce attorney do a better job representing you. To learn more about the main documents used in most divorces, read on.
The Legal Separation Agreement
In most states, there is no real legal requirement to create a separation agreement; you and your spouse can simple part ways and wait for the divorce. That is not recommended, however, for several reasons. A comprehensive separation agreement will help pave the way for a smooth transition period between your separation and the final divorce decree, and it can be folded into your divorce agreement to make quick work of the entire process. What does a legal separation agreement cover?
1. Debt: There are community property states and there are equitable distribution states, but regardless of your home state domicile, you will need to address who pays what debts at some point, and you do not want to be responsible for your spouse's credit card debts and spending once you are separated.
2. Property: Someone will likely move out and someone will keep the family home, and this agreement can include a provision addressing that issue.
3. Child support: The custodial parent is entitled to receive child support for any minor child upon separation.
4. Spousal support (alimony): This form of financial support for the spouse who doesn't earn much (or any) money can be ordered before the divorce is final.
The Parenting Plan
The issue of child custody is now often known as parenting or co-parenting plans, and the sooner you make decisions about this issue, the better. There are two main types of parenting: shared (also called 50/50 plans) and joint. While they sound alike, they are not. The shared plan involves the child spending equal amounts of time with each parent, while the joint plan calls for one parent to be primary physical custodian with the other parent participating in visitation and decision-making.
You will need to provide your attorneys with the last two years (or more) of tax returns. It should be noted that you can request copies (transcripts) of past tax returns from the IRS.
Other Financial Documents
Make sure you have available insurance paperwork (health, life, etc), mortgage paperwork, deeds, vehicle titles, wills, and investment and loan information.
Check with your local divorce attorneys for more information about important divorce paperwork you will be dealing with.